Maybe California should do a few more of these flights before finding something else to ban?
Whatever individuals can do to reduce inefficiency and carbon footprint is surely a good thing; but it's no replacement for systems thinking, and applying incentives on the production side (IMO, best accomplished by setting a price on externalities, through Pigovian taxes and dividends ).
Just to frame things as someone alive at the time in one part of America… single serving glass bottles were not returned to the store, they had no deposit. They were thrown away. Beer cans had no deposit. They were thrown away. (Steel soda cans weren't a thing, they stayed in bottles until aluminum came around) Fast-food cups were waxed paper. Straws were paper. The lids were plastic.
Companies were up front about controlling littering, using their brand loyalty to achieve it. McDonalds even had a "we don't like to see our name thrown around like this" campaign showing a clearly branded paper bag in a ditch.
Most roadside litter was steel beer cans, glass bottles (many broken), paper wrappers and bags. Any picnic area would have beer can pull tabs all over the place. It was actually an effort to retrain people to put the tab into the can so it eventually got thrown away instead of just tossing it where the barefoot children played. Coors introduced a special beer top which had a big hole and a little hole to jab your fingers through so there wouldn't be a beer tab to deal with! Eventually the aluminum lid with no loose parts was developed, but that was a decade after the anti littering campaigns.
It's taken half a century, but now most people don't chuck garbage out their car windows. Some people do. Some areas of the country are much worse than others. If you think littering isn't a thing, then it probably isn't where you live. But, there are areas where the roadside ditches are still full of fresh litter.
This article talks a little more about what I think the op was speaking to: https://theintercept.com/2019/10/18/coca-cola-recycling-plas...
Which was then a choking hazard. C.f., https://www.passenpowell.com/potential-child-safety-hazard-s... and also in pop-culture: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0570625/
Really? That's just what Big Garbage wants you to think. You're obviously a shill in the pay of the National Trash Association.
 Transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?stor...
Proper landfill design & operation ensures the landfill is aerated, which keeps decomposition primarily aerobic which produces little methane. A poorly designed or operated landfill with little aeration will switch to aerobic metabolism, which is what produces large quantities of methane.
If everyone went zero waste then nothing would be added to the landfill, and its methane production would taper out to nothing as a result.
From the top charts for image search "landfill gas chart", suggests methane(CH4) vents heavily for 3-5 years, then a long taper.
Consumers do have some power, but they are not the only ones and we should demand an effort from all parts of society there.
On the other hand, I doubt it is plastic waste that produce methane, an organic byproduct. Maybe food wastes are at fault. In which case your enemy is not overpackaging and may actually be your (temporary) ally
The rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere come from burning hydrocarbons which originate from below the earth's surface, where they were not part of the carbon cycle for millions of years. Burning faster than natural sequestration below the surface is reaponsible for the overall rise.
All else being equal, methane has a stronger greenhouse effect, but breaks down, unlike CO2 which is only sequestered by plants.
More worrisome is that, done at a scale that would matter to the atmosphere, it would have to be buried in containers that are impermeable to water forever, lest all of our underground aquifers become contaminated by bacteria and heavy metals that are naturally occurring in plants.
As I said elsewhere in this post, you can cut emission but population growth offsets all the benefits. You cannot address climate change without drastic long term reduction in human activity/population.
Of course you can. You must change activities to be carbon neutral, but you can maintain the same level of comfort you have today. More than "can maintain", you "must".
If you rely on sacrifice from the whole planetary population in order to tackle climate change, we are doomed. It will never happen, as it goes against the competitive nature of humans.
The correct path is forward: innovate, so that carbon neutral forms of energy and materials are better than carbon-emitting versions. Energy is an almost solved problem, using this vector. Let's attack materials now.
As excesses become realized, increasingly, a fundamental relationship between these figures can become measurable.
That exact relationship, the proven algorithm, may not realistically be very well agreed upon in detail, but as these factors rise rapidly above baseline levels that function should more accurately be discerned above the background as time goes on.
Maybe before this happens, sustainability would be better achieved by actions resulting in trends which reduce these two figures low enough in combination where no relationship could then be considered realistic.
So carbon neutrality might not be enough without taking too much from population.
Completely disagree. Reducing waste, recycling waste, and re-using waste are some of the ways to address climate change. Saying modifying human activity/population is the only way to solve a problem is as extreme as saying climate change isn't real.
> No business is out there emitting methane for shits and giggles.
No one says this, you're reducing the broader point to a poor cliff-note. The point is that the incentives for businesses to better address their waste are not there. If all one gets for managing waste responsibly is a higher bill every month and a good feeling in their stomach, why would a proper capitalist businessperson do that in the short term?
My point was that the "capitalist" is not running that production line in isolation, it is the end consumer demand that drives that pipeline. So yes consumer demand is the ultimate source of all this.
Carbon tax is but a first step but it is necessary as it will force the actors to take action. As you correctly pointed out they have no "incentive" to do so right now.
I can have the exactly same
lifestyle in Saudi, in USA and in France, yet per capita emissions in France are 3 times lower than those in USA, and 5 times lower than in Saudi.
People in Saudi do not have 5 times better lives. In fact a huge chunk of the population is an underclass, some work as slaves on construction sites.
Competent management and regulation matters, a lot.
Of course this doesn't work for the US, because French nuclear (and HSR) depend on their dirigiste government--which has totally different assumptions about distribution of political power.
Edited to add: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirigisme
with the following quote: "...marked by volontarisme, the belief that difficulties (e.g. postwar devastation, lack of natural resources) could be overcome through willpower and ingenuity. For instance, following the 1973 energy crisis, the saying "In France we don't have oil, but we have ideas" was coined. Volontarisme emphasized modernization, resulting in a variety of ambitious state plans. Examples of this trend include the extensive use of nuclear energy (close to 80% of French electrical consumption), the Minitel, an early online system for the masses, and the TGV, a high-speed rail network."
We are not there yet though: intermittence (and to some extent construction speed) still favor nuclear power but maybe not for that long.
If you asked the typical person who's extremely concerned about climate change where we should invest money, they'll answer wind and solar far more likely than nuclear. There are people who advocate for nuclear as the solution, sure, but they're in the minority. Often they're people who don't seem especially concerned about climate change.
There is no such Party, and no such Party Platform; the document is, as its own title says, the Democratic Platform 2016.
> does not mention nuclear energy once.
It promotes it without naming it, by proposing pricing in the climate externalities of fossil fuels, which makes all energy sources that don't contribute to warming, including nuclear, more competitive in the market and attractive to private investment.
In Australia, when they briefly brought in a carbon tax, a dairy that complained before it was introduced, started capturing their methane and using it for power and installed solar. They ended up thinking it was a good thing just as it was repealed.
Nothing that I've said contradicts your point that management and regulation matter.
You're subscribing to an either/or dichotomy which is false. Consumers demand drives emission. The fix is to enforce heavy regulation on the producers which will ultimately result in lower demand through increased cost.
CO2 emissions are only ONE of the environmental challenges we're dealing with. We're resource bound in other ways, and regular ol' pollution of the environment is a huge concern which sometimes run contrary to CO2 emission. Meaning you can have a technology that reduces CO2 emission in production, so you consume more and throw away more. That is good for climate change but still bad for the planet.
It is true that as a consumer, I can try to regulate my demand to reflect how I feel about those facilities' emissions.
At the time time, saying that consumers control those facilities seems to imply that the owners and operators bear no responsiblity for their emissions and are not empowered to change them.
Instead, the industry should make these decisions for me. It already does, by deciding which products to build, and how. Set tariffs, taxes, penalties, and let producers figure out how to most optimally make money in that environment. That's their core expertise - it's not my core expertise.
We don't expect consumers to be medical experts. We have doctors for that. Why should we expect consumers to also be experts in the long tail of 'various ways that producers screw up our environment'?
At the current rate of 1.2% that's only ~18 years.
Given that emission controls are a whole lot easier to implement than eliminating a huge portion of the world's population, I'd say it's a more realistic goal to pursue.
But I do suggest people advocating it join the front of the queue.
You'd need a 33% growth in population to offset a 25% reduction in pollution, 100% growth to offset a 50% reduction, and so on.
Of course all water use (like pollution) is driven by consumer demand, but the point is a lot of effort seems to be spent on silly things that have little impact when there are much easier targets.
Caveat: the water situation is a lot more complex than I laid it out here.
If I consume 50% less dairy products, for instance, it will cause a noticeable negative impact on my life.
The impact it will have on the environment will not be at all noticeable. (and it wouldn't be noticeable if it were multiplied by tens of thousands)
It isn't realistic to expect change by relying on consumers to negatively impact themselves for some unmeasurable positive.
On the other hand, it is not at all unrealistic to have those same consumers vote for regulation. The amount it increases the cost of dairy products would likely be outweighed by the positive impact on the environment. It works because the impact of action on themselves, both negative and positive, are divided up by all the people.
I don't see why these two can't be done in parallel.